This week in Washington: Negotiations for COVID-19 stimulus package are ongoing; House and Senate are in recess.
Energy and Commerce Republican Leadership Requests GAO Review of Contact Tracing Apps
On Oct. 9, House Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Greg Walden (R-OR), Health Subcommittee ranking member Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee ranking member Brett Guthrie (R-KY) sent a letter to the Comptroller General Gene Dodaro to request a technology assessment of COVID-19 contact tracing apps by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). In the letter, the members ask GAO to review the use of these apps in other countries as well. Find the full letter here.
House Democrats Introduce Bill Penalizing Labs for Slow COVID-19 Test Results
On Oct. 2, Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Mike Sherrill (D-NJ) and Terri Sewell (D-AL) introduced a bill to penalize laboratories that take longer than three days to provide coronavirus test results and to reward fast turnarounds. The Strictly Pay for Efficient and Expedited Delivery of Your (SPEEDY) COVID- 19 Tests Act would pay 25 percent more for COVID-19 test results returned within 24 hours. Medicare pay rates would remain the same if results are delivered within two days, and pay rates from before the pandemic would apply to tests when results take three days. After 72 hours, labs would receive no reimbursement for processing a COVID-19 test. The bill also threatens to pull labs’ ability to participate in Medicare if they do not process samples within 28 days. All tests must be processed within 28 days. The bill provides an additional 36-hour extension for rural communities and labs supporting medically underserved areas. Find the bill here.
Sen. Alexander and Rep. Walden Ask for Input on Modernizing 340B Drug Pricing Program
On Oct. 9, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and House Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Greg Walden (R-OR) released a statement calling for input on how to improve the 340B Drug Pricing Program. Suggestions from stakeholders must be submitted by Oct. 30, 2020, to the following email addresses: 340B@help.senate.gov and 340B@mail.house.gov. Find the full statement here.
Read more on healthcare policy in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Washington Healthcare Update.